Beethoven’s 32 Piano Sonatas represent the composer’s life journey, both as a composer and human being. From the early sonatas, which are stylistically akin to those of Mozart or Haydn, through to the final six, which are amongst the most sublime works ever written for the instrument. They are often performed as a complete cycle but rarely heard altogether, although pianist Julian Jacobson (one of the pianists taking part in this festival) achieved this extraordinary feat last year at St. Martin-in-the-Fields in London.
St Barnabas church in Ealing is presenting a major piano festival celebrating Beethoven, programming all 32 Sonatas over a period of two days. This is the third Beethoven festival at the church and it takes place on Saturday May 17th and Sunday May 18th (from 2.00 pm to 10.00 pm) and the works will be performed by a distinguished team of 32 pianists. There are afternoon sessions from 2 to 6 pm and evening sessions from 7 to 10 pm on each day, with regular intervals for refreshments (tea and supper are available).
The church houses a superb Bosendorfer concert grand, used by the BBC at Maida Vale studios for broadcasts. Concerts are held ‘in the round’, with the piano and musicians in the centre of the nave, so everyone is reasonably close to the performers (see photo above). A state-of-the-art projection system will be in operation allowing everyone in the audience to see the pianist – and their hands – at close quarters, transforming the whole experience.
All 32 pianists will contribute substantially to this immense musical journey, from the first work, Op 2 no 1, on Saturday afternoon, to the great Op 111 on Sunday evening. They come from all over the world, and cover a wide age range. Many have won major piano awards and enjoyed distinguished careers; hearing them play in succession on the same piano will no doubt prove endlessly fascinating. You can read about every pianist here.
Admission for each session will be £12 (£6 for students/young people), or £40 for the entire festival. No tickets will be issued beforehand, so you can just turn up on the day. The church is very large so admission is guaranteed. There is ample free parking in nearby streets. All proceeds will go towards St Barnabas church funds. The Church wants to raise over £100,000 following the installation of a new organ, so you can enjoy some of the most profound piano music and support a very worthy cause.
You can find out more here. Here’s the programme:
|Saturday Afternoon||May 17th|
|2.00||Kathron Sturrock||F minor||Op 2 no 1|
|2.25||Colin Stone||A major||Op 2 no 2|
|3.00||Seta Tanyel||C major||Op 2 no 3|
|3.25||Aristo Sham||E flat major||Op 7|
|4.25||Veronika Shoot||C minor||Op 10 no 1|
|4.45||Yoriko Wakabayashi||F major||Op 10 no 2|
|5.10||Meng Yang Pan||D major||Op 10 no 3|
|5.35||Maria Setiadi||C minor||Op 13|
|Saturday Evening||May 17th|
|7.00||Julian Jacobson||E major||Op 14 no 1|
|7.15||Mariko Brown||G major||Op 14 no 2|
|7.30||Nafis Umerkulova||B flat major||Op 22|
|8.10||Danielle Salamon||E flat major||Op 27 no 1|
|8.25||Tadashi Imai||C# minor||Op 27 no 2|
|8.55||Karim Said||D major||Op 28|
|9.20||Olga Paliy||G major||Op 31 no 1|
|Sunday Afternoon||May 18th|
|2.00||Andrew Brownell||A flat major||Op 26|
|2.20||Reiko Fujisawa||D minor||Op 31 no 2|
|2.45||Dina Diusen||E flat major||Op 31 no 3|
|3.15||Alice Pinto||G minor||Op 49 no 1|
|3.25||Viv McLean||G major||Op 49 no 2|
|3.35||Simon Watterton||C major||Op 53|
|4.00||Chinatsu Izumikawa||F major||Op 54|
|4.40||Angela Brownridge||F minor||Op 57|
|5.05||Marcus Andrews||F# major||Op 78|
|5.15||Aleksandra Myslek||G major||Op 79|
|5.30||Alexander Soares||E flat major||Op 81a|
|5.45||Gamal Khamis||E minor||Op 90|
|Sunday Evening||May 18th|
|7.00||Jayson Gillham||A major||Op 101|
|7.25||Hugh Mather||B flat major||Op 106|
|8.25||Mishka Rushdie Momen||E major||Op 109|
|9.00||Pavel Timofejevsky||A flat major||Op 110|
|9.30||Mikhail Shilyaev||C minor||Op 111|
For much more information about how to practice piano repertoire, take a look at my two-book piano course, Play it again: PIANO (Schott). Covering a huge array of styles and genres, 49 progressive pieces from approximately Grade 1 – 8 level are featured, with at least two pages of practice tips for every piece. A convenient and beneficial course for students of any age, with or without a teacher, and it can also be used alongside piano examination syllabuses too.
You can find out more about my other piano publications and compositions here.